HUMZA Yousaf has said he will be a failure as First Minister if he does not secure Scottish independence. 

The comments from the SNP leader came during an interview with Andrew Marr on LBC, during a whistlestop visit to London. 

Mr Yousaf also said any support from his MPs for a minority Labour government, would “come at a cost.”

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While Sir Keir Starmer’s lead over the Tories is still substantial it has narrowed in recent weeks, with many on Rishi Sunak’s backbenches believing the general election - widely expected next year - could be tighter than predicted. 

Asked if Labour forming the next UK Government without an overall majority in the Commons made Scottish independence more likely, Mr Yousaf said: “Well, we would certainly be willing to co-operate with a Labour government because we want to see the back of the Tories. 

“But of course, that would come at a cost. And of course, the first demand I would make would be to get powers over a Section 30 Order and having that devolved to Scotland.”

He said if Labour managed to win a majority of seats then they would likely “ignore Scotland.” 

“They did that last time they were in power; they will do it again. So, in order to get Scotland's voice heard in Westminster, you have to vote for as many SNP MPs. 

“And if there is a hung Parliament, then of course, we will co-operate, I'll say that unequivocally. We'll co-operate with anybody that is a progressive political party that's looking to see the back of the Tories, but there will be a price.’

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Asked if he would consider his time in Bute House as a failure if he does not secure a second referendum, he said: “Look, I think if I have not advanced the cause of independence, if I have not achieved independence as an SNP First Minister, then that yeah, that will be one failure I'm afraid that people will certainly take alongside my name. 

“But look, I hope that I can have many successes and that includes tackling child poverty, that will be the defining mission.’

The Herald:

Asked about further devolution and Gordon Brown's blueprint, adopted by Sir Keir and Labour, Mr Yousaf said he would “always argue for more powers for Scotland.” 

“So, I will work with whoever I need to work with, to get powers over employment, to get powers over the financial levers are necessary to shift that dial on child poverty quite considerably that has been talked about today. 

“Energy, absolutely. I mean, the energy market here is frankly a joke. The fact that we still have renewable energy prices pegged to wholesale gas prices makes no sense whatsoever. 

“So yes, I will work with whoever is in power. I'd be keen to, for example, meet with Gordon Brown I would hope at some point to discuss the work that he's doing on devolution. 

“He and I will have constitutional differences. I believe in independence, he doesn't. But if the Labour Party are going to be in power in 12 to 18 months, I want to make sure we're laying the groundwork to of course, I want that Section 30 order. While we don't have independence, I'll do everything I can to make our parliament as powerful as possible.”

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Earlier in the day, Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s leader at Westminster told the Institute for Government that the SNP’s ask of a minority Labour government would be “that the people of Scotland need to have the right to determine their own future and that Holyrood should be empowered to do that."

Asked if he was worried that explicitly stating his demands for Section 30 powers to support a minority Labour government would play into the hands of the Tories, Mr Flynn said: “I don't think we've been explicit in terms of stating that we would back a Labour Government. 

“What I'm being explicit about is that those key policy areas where I would want to see the Labour Party deliver upon, that's the devolution of powers in relation to energy, the devolution of powers in relation to employment law, and we can have discussions about single market access, the reset of that relationship with the European Union and migration policy as well. 

“But also, importantly, the right for the people of Scotland to determine their own future, to empower Holyrood to have the power to instigate that. 

“And I think that very much puts the ball until Labour Party's court

“What is it that they stand for when it comes to Scotland's Future? It's all good and well, speaking at a UK level, but I think they need to be honest and upfront with the people of Scotland about what a Labour government would mean. 

“And if the Scottish National Party can play a role in terms of keeping that potential Labour government honest, if we can ensure that they are delivering the aims and objectives which we would support for the people of Scotland, then of course, we can visit that at that time. 

“I think it's probably worthwhile making clear that under no circumstances would I ever seek to support a Tory government. I think that would be one step too far from me, and indeed, many of my colleagues and rightly so.

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “The choice the SNP face is clear - either back a Labour government or help usher in more brutal Tory austerity and division.

“Flynn‘s SNP and the Tory party feed off each other and the division that they sow.

“Time is up for the politics of division. Only Labour can boot the Tories and the SNP out of power and only Labour will.”